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The Improbable War: China, the United States and the Logic of Great Power Conflict

Christopher Coker



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C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
01 September 2017
Politics & government; International relations; Warfare & defence
The Improbable War explains why conflict between the USA and China cannot be ruled out. In 1914 war between the Great Powers was considered unlikely, yet it happened. We learn only from history, and popular though the First World War analogy is, the lessons we draw from its outbreak are usually mistaken. Among these errors is the tendency to over-estimate human rationality. All major conflicts of the past 300 years have been about the norms and rules of the international system. In China and the US the world confronts two 'exceptional' powers whose values differ markedly, with China bidding to challenge the current order. The 'Thucydidean Trap' -when a conservative status quo power confronts a rising new one-may also play its part in precipitating hostilities. To avoid stumbling into an avoidable war both Beijing and Washington need a coherent strategy, which neither of them has. History also reveals that war evolves continually. The next global conflict is likely to be played out in cyberspace and outer space and like all previous wars it will have devastating consequences.

Such a war between the United States and China may seem improbable, but it is all too possible, which is why we need to discuss it now.
By:   Christopher Coker
Imprint:   C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 138mm,  Spine: 19mm
ISBN:   9781849048781
ISBN 10:   1849048789
Pages:   256
Publication Date:   01 September 2017
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Christopher Coker is Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics. He is author of, among others, Warrior Geeks: How 21st Century Technology is Changing the Way We Fight and Think About War, and Rebooting Clausewitz: 'On War' in the Twenty- First Century.

Reviews for The Improbable War: China, the United States and the Logic of Great Power Conflict

'Coker . . . always brings great historical, literary and philosophical erudition to his work . . . [A] thoughtful account.' -- Literary Review

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